A Systems Management lesson from WikiLeaks

Shane Corellian Raindog Sys Admin
Photo by Helen Rosemier

The founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, said that if his site was permanently taken down OR if he was incarcerated, he was going to release what has been referred to as his “doomsday file” – encrypted files that have been heretofore unreleased and would, presumably, prove embarrasing to certain governments and private companies.

Back in June I wrote about always having a Systems Management Lysine Contingency. Vaguely similar to Assange’s “Doomsday file”, a Lysine Contingency (term taken from Jurassic Park) is a plan that you can execute when things go terribly wrong. I’m not suggesting that your Lysine Contingency should be a doomsday file but I definitely like the idea of being able to, with one stroke, execute a back-out plan that requires little or no external interaction. It’s kind of like a time-machine.

One common way of having a quick back-out plan with software deployment is to prepare a plan to uninstall your newly deployed software. I will often have two software packages defined in a software deployment project – one to install and one to remove.

If your software is ultimately installed with the Microsoft Installer (.MSI,.MSU) then your chances to uninstall successfully are fairly high.

If you want to uninstall software across multiple computers, verify that there is an UninstallString value corresponding to the application on your target computer’s registries.

Using Regedit.exe I found the uninstallstring value for removing iTunes from my computer.

blog spc 20101205 uninstallstring

To run this (and most MSIEXEC) uninstallations quietly, simply copy the text and paste it into a .bat file. At this point replace the “/I” with a “/X” and append string with “/q /norestart”.

MsiExec.exe /X{23B45E10-0CA5-43E9-BD6D-C2BD6CBE11AC} /q /norestart

You can use this .bat file as your deployment file in PDQ Deploy.

blog spc 20101205 uninstallbat

or you can uninstall iTunes using a Remote Command inside of AA Console.

blog spc 20101205 remotecommand

This is just one example. Try this in your environment. Sometimes uninstalling software takes a bit more on the scripting side.


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